Someone has just told you to get lost. This is as an insult to the world at large. It's a not so polite request for you to make an immediate change in venue, a statement that one person's view of the world is a lot better without you in it, a fervent wish for your instant teleportation to anywhere other than where you are now. It is, in essence, the ultimate 'beam me up, Scotty' moment.
by Kathleen Wooton M.D.
I just don't see it that way. Getting lost is so much more than that, and can be a heck of a lot of fun.
To me, 'Get Lost' is an invitation to explore a brave new world, a fascinating way to travel the globe and meet new people. It's a challenge, a dare, an alternative to the safe and the mundane. It's a spontaneous journey into the unknown, and it is as simple as making one wrong turn. I do it all the time.
Get lost and see the world - that's been my experience thus far. I highly recommend it - I think the world would be a much happier place if people got lost more often. The joys of discovery and meeting new people more than compensate for the temporary embarrassment you'll experience as you enlist the help of the natives to help find your way home. And the beauty is, it takes so very little effort to do it well.
If you believe variety is the spice of life, embracing the lost lifestyle will spice up your life considerably.
You can start on your road to adventure by taking a shortcut to the grocery store - a.k.a. getting lost close to home. With any luck, soon you'll see new neighborhoods, meet new people, and find cool places to shop. It's a mini-vacation that is doubly delightful for its sheer spontaneity. Unfortunately, you'll have to enjoy it while you can, for you may not pass that way again. Getting lost as recreation is an art form, but getting lost in the same place twice takes years of practice.
A step up on the lost-o-meter is the family vacation. Buy a map, rent an RV, pack up your family and gather your passports, it's time to follow the open road. It's loads of fun, and you may even get to see Canada or Mexico without even trying (hence, the passports). Be sure to take along a plentiful supply of bottled water and Pepto-Bismol', just in case you anger Montezuma in your travels. Brushing up on your Spanish wouldn't hurt either, just in case you succeed in angering Montezuma and need to quickly find the loo.
To wholeheartedly get lost, you need to think globally. To totally and royally lose yourself in a place where you don't speak the language is the ultimate journey into the Lost Realms. Prior to doing this, you must be sure you've memorized 'please direct me to the American Embassy' in several different languages (or, if you're concerned about anti-American sentiment, ask for the Canadian Embassy and make sure you can sing the first two verses of 'Oh, Canada' by heart), or you may find yourself in the middle of a messy international incident. Remember, there is no clever "My wrong turn landed me in a foreign jail and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" top which you can sport after such an ordeal.
The next time someone tells you to get lost, be sure to thank him or her and do just that. Get lost. See the world. You never know where you'll touch down.
'2005, 2007 Kathleen M. Wooton, M.D.
First published in "Journey Through Travel" Magazine January/February, 2006.
You can read more of Kathy's amusing stories by going to her humor column...